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Joseph W. Robertson Correspondence, 1862-1865

 Collection — Container: MS 7095
Call Number: MS 7095

Scope and Contents

This collection of eighteen letters written between July 1862 and November 1865 document  Joseph W. Robertson’s experiences in Union-occupied Beaufort, South Carolina and Richmond, Virginia. The letters detail Robertson’s difficulties with being separated from his family by war. The collection contains eleven letters from Robertson to his wife Phebe, three letters from Robertson to his unnamed sister, and four letters from Phebe to Robertson. The correspondence describes daily life in the camps, including thoughts on the quality of food, Lincoln’s assassination, encounters with freed African Americans, rebel troop movements around Beaufort, South Carolina, and Confederate activity at Charleston, South Carolina.


  • Majority of material found in 1862-1865
  • Other: Date acquired: 04/00/2012


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Items in this collection may be subject to copyright restrictions. In most cases, the Boston Public Library does not hold the copyright to the items in our collections. It is the sole responsibility of the user to make their own determination about what types of usage might be permissible under U.S. and international copyright law.

Biographical / Historical


Date                               Event

January 1839               Born in Fall River, Massachusetts (?).

11 January 1861          Enlists as a Private in the Union Army at New Bedford, MA.

11 November 1861     Enlists in K Company Massachusetts 1st Cavalry Regiment.

12 February 1864        Transfers to K Company Massachusetts 4th Cavalry Regiment.

14 November 1865     Musters out at Richmond, VA.

Joseph W. Robertson, a blacksmith from Fall River, Massachusetts, enlisted as a Private in the Union Army at the age of 22 on January 11, 1861 in New Bedford, Massachusetts. On November 11, 1861 Robertson enlisted in K Company Massachusetts’s 1st Cavalry Regiment, which saw little action and was assigned with patrol and guard duty in the area of Beaufort, South Carolina. In 1864 Robertson’s company began moving north towards Richmond, Virginia, where Robertson was released from duty on November 14, 1865.


Year: 1880; Census Place: New Bedford, Bristol, Massachusetts; Roll: 525; Family History Film: 1254525; Page: 112B; Enumeration District: 110; Image: 0390.

Historical Data Systems, comp.. U.S. Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2009.


18.00 Items

Language of Materials



Arranged chronologically.

Method of Acquisition

Purchased from Carmen Valentino in 2012.

Processing Information

Finding aid written by Vincent R. Capone, February 2013.

Processing Information

This electronic finding aid is transcribed from legacy data. In many cases, transcriptions were not verified against collection materials at the time of transcription. As a result, this finding aid could be incomplete and might only reflect a partial understanding of the material.

Statement on harmful description

Archival description reflects the biases of time periods and cultures in which it was created and may include direct quotations or descriptions that use inappropriate or harmful language. Creator provided descriptions may be maintained in order to preserve the context in which the collection was created and/or used. Legacy description and potentially offensive content may be made available online until a collection can be reprocessed because the access that they provide to primary source materials is uniquely valuable to the research community at large. Our efforts to repair outdated descriptions and to describe our collections more equitably are iterative and ongoing.

Joseph W. Robertson Correspondence, 1862-1865
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